Pa. budget proposal: What does Philly get?

On Tuesday, Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled a $48 billion state budget proposal with a nearly $300 million increase in funding for public transportation, $1.1 billion for schools and more. How could that impact Philly?

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Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled his $48 billion proposed budget Tuesday, with no tax increases for the coming year.

In the proposal, the first-term Democrat called for increases in funding for public schools and public transportation along with an increase in the minimum wage.

But, just how much of an impact would Shapiro's goals have on Philadelphia residents?

Well, the biggest piece of the budget that would be aimed specifically toward Philly and the surrounding suburban communities, would be new investment into public transportation -- specifically SEPTA.

Public Transportation funding increase

On Tuesday, Shapiro opened is budget address by saying that the state is sitting on a $14 billion financial surplus and he intends to use that funding to invest in Pennsylvania communities.

"I don't want to take any more from the people of Pennsylvania than we need to," he told gathered lawmakers in Harrisburg. "Instead, I want to invest in them."

In his second budget address -- the first budget address delivered in joint-session in the state Capitol -- Shapiro said that he's proposing an increase of $1.5 billion for public transportation all across the Keystone State over the course of the next five years.

Even before Tuesday's presentation, Shapiro had said he planned to announce a 1.75% -- or $282.8 million -- increase in the state's share of public transit funding.

Of that, he said, SEPTA will see about $161 million in new funds.

But, to get it, SEPTA will need to address issues of cleanliness and safety throughout the system. He said his office has been working with SEPTA -- and the governments of counties that surround the city -- on a plan forward.

"I can now report that SEPTA has presented plans to address cleanliness and safety, and county officials have entertained a willingness to increase their financial support," he said.

The increase overall, Shapiro said, would bring state investment into SEPTA to a total of $1 billion, which, if approved, would trigger an additional 15% match from surrounding counties, bringing in an additional $24 million for SEPTA this coming fiscal year.

Billions for public schools

Along with support for public transportation, Shapiro called for new funding for public schools throughout the state.

The proposal came on the heels of last year's court ruling that found that the state underfunded schools and that change was needed.

Shapiro's proposed budget would invest $1.1 billion dollars in new funding this year in Pennsylvania schools – and it makes sure no school gets less than they did last year, he noted.

"Nearly $900 million of that will be sent to support our school children under a new adequacy formula so we can ensure every school has the appropriate level of resources they need to serve their students," Shapiro said.

In discussing the need for investment into Pa.'s school system, Shapiro brought up a meeting with Philadelphia State Rep. Elizabeth Fielder (D-184th dist.) in which she had to bring students to the Capitol after their school was closed due to asbestos concerns.

"But there are a lot of other families out there who would have had to miss part of a paycheck – miss a day’s work – because we didn’t do our part to make our schools safer," he said. "And while we repair those broken pipes in our schools, we also need to repair the pipeline of professionals who go into teaching."

The proposed budget would add an additional $50 million into special education and another $30 million would be invested into Pre-K programs to help recruit and retain teachers.

Also, in order to repair and improve schools and educational infrastructure across the state, Shapiro's budget would set aside aside $1.5 billion – including $300 million this year alone – for improvements.

This could be impactful to Philly as, just last week, the city's school district superintendent, Tony Watlington, said that the "average age of buildings is some 73 years and we have many schools that are more than 120 years old."

New statewide Office of Gun Violence

Shapiro brought up Philadelphia again in his proposal on Tuesday, in welcoming Meredith Elizalde to the Capitol during his remarks.

She is the mother of Nicolas Elizalde, a 14-year-old boy who was killed in an ambush outside Roxborough High School in 2022.

Meredith Elizalde has continually fought for gun law reforms since her son's death, and Shapiro said that he plans to take action on the gun violence problem that plagues so many communities throughout Philadelphia and the rest of the state.

"With gun violence at unacceptable levels in our communities, it’s long past time for us to take real action," he said.

To do it, Shapiro hopes to create a statewide Office of Gun Violence tasked with taking on that issue.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

Also, the budget calls for an additional $100 million to address gun violence issues across the state.

Other local impacts

Beyond those issues, Shapiro discussed a number of concerns that would impact Philadelphia and the surrounding communities.

He called for legislators to raise the state's minimum wage -- which hasn't seen an increase since 2009.

In his budget address, Pa. Gov. Josh Shapiro is calling on lawmakers for an increase to minimum wage. This has long been a hot topic in the commonwealth as neighboring states such as Delaware and New Jersey have raised their minimum wages. NBC10's Rosemary Connors has more from both sides of the issue.

He called for elected officials to legalize marijuana, saying it would bring in about $250 million in annual revenue for the state to implement probation reform and support those in need of legal services.

And, his proposal would increase funding for the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network by 50%. Shapiro noted the network "provides pro bono legal services to help seniors, families, and Pennsylvanians with disabilities."

He mentioned the work of Philly's Eviction Diversion Program, arguing that it should be brought statewide.

Shapiro's budget will now be reviewed by state legislators, who have until June 30 to complete their review of the document.

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